The Conflicting Effects Of Creatine & Alcohol On Growth

creatine and alcohol

Don’t let poor decisions ruin your chances of growth.

If you’ve come here, then you enjoy two things: building muscle and enjoying a beverage, but knowing the conflicting effects of creatine and alcohol is important as this will have consequences to your muscle growth, and ultimately your overall gains. For many of us, we supplement with creatine to see that added strength and size. We also may enjoy a beverage or two once in a while to relax, maybe watch a sports game, and just unwind from our hectic schedules. But just how much do alcohol and building muscle mix?

Creatine is a widely researched supplement known to increase strength and size. While this is mainly found in a powder form, there are those products that do contain pill forms of creatine. With many different kinds, creatine monohydrate seems to the most popular for its ability to absorb faster. Also widely studied is alcohol and its effect on our bodies as a whole. While it is fine to enjoy a beverage or two in moderation, knowing what this can do to you and your gains is important, especially for those of bodybuilders.

Let’s take a look at the conflicting effects of creatine and alcohol so we know what we need to do to continue to see great gains. It isn’t worth having a bad workout because you drank too much, and it isn’t worth sacrificing recovery and limiting your gains.

Strongman guide

Creatine: What It Is, Benefits & More

Creatine is an amino acid found in your muscles and brain, and as a supplement, is widely researched. What this does is essentially takes your body’s energy source of ATP and through a long process, restores what is depleted. During a workout, your body uses ATP for energy and ADP is a useless byproduct left over. Creatine takes ADP and turns it back into ATP to be used for useful energy come your next workout.

Creatine works to promote strength and size, boost athletic performance, improve your metabolism, and increase cognitive function. For those athletes who supplement with this, creatine is a trusted product to really elevate training and performance for better results (1,2,3).


Check out our list of the Best Creatine Supplements for more great muscle building products!


How Alcohol Affects Your Muscle Growth

Enjoying a drink can be nice, but in moderation is absolutely key. Alcohol is one of those things where a couple drinks can be a good time, but anything more can just turn into a nightmare. When it comes to building muscle, alcohol can actually have limiting effects that you should know about. When it comes to protein synthesis, for example, alcohol can have a blocking effect which leads to a reduction in muscle mass.

Let’s look at testosterone for a minute. Testosterone is necessary for growth to take place and is a highly important muscle building hormone. Alcohol can seriously lower your testosterone levels which means that protein synthesis is prohibited. It will also raise estrogen, having an opposite effect to growth (4,5).

So, alcohol clearly seems to oppose what creatine is designed to do. It is important to note that alcohol really does limit your growth, the real question would be by how much, although that is dependent on the individual.

Creatine & Alcohol: What Are The Conflicting Effects?

When it comes down to it, alcohol can inhibit the benefits of what creatine is trying to do. Creatine is designed to pull water into your muscles, but alcohol takes water away. This can lead to cramping, pain, among other negative effects. If creatine doesn’t have water to pull into your muscles, then it won’t do its job. This dehydration will limit growth and make you feel terrible all at the same time.

Looking at this from a baseline perspective, creatine helps with cognitive functioning and alcohol takes that functioning away. Creatine needs water to thrive and alcohol takes that away. Creatine wants to pull nutrients to benefit you and needs plenty to do its job well, but alcohol takes that away as well. What’s the common theme? What creatine wants, alcohol takes.

It is important to note that this may not apply to one or two drinks, or whatever your limit is in moderation. For those heavily drinking, the effects of alcohol can really limit your over time and completely negate the benefits of creatine. At the very least, you’re wasting money on an expensive supplement that isn’t doing its full job. Don’t let this happen and start to monitor what you put into your body. At the end of the day, you need to decide whether a little buzz or serious gains are more important.

Protein Bars Vs. Protein Powder

Best Creatine Supplements For Added Gains

Now that this is established, looking to the right creatine supplements can be a game changer. It may seem daunting to walk the isles of the supermarket or scroll through endless pages online, but it is possible to find the right supplement. We took it upon ourselves to get a list together of the best creatine supplements to make this choice easier for you.

What we found was that Transparent Labs StrengthSeries Creatine HMB was the number one creatine for its cleanliness, benefits, ingredients, and pure overall value. However, the others on this list are also very good and our team took the time to only deliver the best for your gains.


Check out our list of the Best Creatine Supplements for more great muscle building products!


Wrap Up

You now have the knowledge to see the conflicting effects of creatine and alcohol and what this does to your muscle growth. It can be easy to get caught up in a good night and have a few too many, but realize this does affect your gains. Creatine is a great supplement and a staple in many routines, so look into a solid product, decide what’s more important to you, and really watch your gains grow.


Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato

References

  1. Francaux, M.; Poortmans, J. R. (1999). “Effects of training and creatine supplement on muscle strength and body mass”. (source)
  2. Kreider, Richard B. (2003). “Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations”. (source)
  3. Avgerinos, Konstantinos I.; Spyrou, Nikolaos; Bougioukas, Konstantinos I.; Kapogiannis, Dimitrios (2018). “Effects of creatine supplementation on cognitive function of healthy individuals: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials”. (source)
  4. Okwara, J.; et al. (2019). “Effect of alcohol consumption on testosterone, luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone levels in males residing in Nnewi Metroplois, Anambra state, Nigeria”. (source)
  5. Walter, M.; et al. (2007). “Controlled Study On The Combined Effect Of Alcohol And Tobacco Smoking On Testosterone In Alcohol-Dependent Men”. (source)
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Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.